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Barnard Castle students inspired by former pupil David Soanes
18th February 2016

Sixth form students at Barnard Castle School were thrilled and inspired last week by guest speaker, renowned investment banker and former pupil Mr David Soanes. 

David, who was at the School from 1982 to 1987, is UK country head at the Zurich-based bank, UBS, and he also serves as UBS’ Global Head of Financial Institutions.  He has had 25 years in the banking industry and has immense experience, so much so that during the banking crisis in 2008 the UK government called upon him to help them determine a way out.

During his visit David spoke very fondly about his time at school, and was keen to remind the students how fortunate they were to be at such a great school.  He was extremely impressed with the new facilities and how far the school has moved on, although at the same time found it equally endearing to see some of the old school as he remembered it.

Students benefitted from a 40 minute lecture on the structure of banking, followed by a roundtable activity whereby students who were interested could hear more from, and pose questions to David  and another Old Barnardian, Mr John Hunter, who is a current parent and Director at Rothschild’s. Those with designs on a career in the City had a further opportunity to meet with David one on one.

David said of his visit: "The partnership culture of mutual respect that exists between the pupils and the staff team was inspiring to behold. This comes about through leadership that places decency and integrity at the heart of the School's values."

Head of Sixth Form, Chris Butler said: “It is imperative that our students have access to people such as David.  It gives them a sense of what hard work can achieve and what employers are now looking for.  Having the roundtable gives them a sense of a real life business meeting and the students came up with some incisive questions.”

“Another guest speaker this term was John Mowbray, former Director at Northumbria Water.  John spoke about employability and the need for students to be adaptable, to show how they are different and to challenge.  These, he said, are the qualities they need to be successful.  The curriculum at Barney caters for all of this.”

During his time boarding at school, David played for the hockey, rugby and cricket teams as well as being involved in the choir, CCF and Operatic & Dramatic Society.  From School he went on to Cambridge University before pursuing his chosen career.

The School is hosting two informal Open Days in March in order for families to see what Barney can do for their children.  For more information, contact Julia Simpson on 01833 696 030 to find out more.